Authorities further expanded their search for two young boys Saturday who were kidnapped by their parents earlier in the week in a violent abduction.
Investigators with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are asking boaters from Pensacola to the Keys – a span of roughly 800 miles - to keep an eye out for the boat the Hakken family is believed to be sailing.
"The search, especially for a vessel, is extremely difficult just for the fact that Florida has some of the largest coastlines in the United States," said FFWC Spokesman Baryl Martin. "The nooks and crannies that run up and down the coast of Florida are varied, so a lot of the general public get back in those areas more than we're able to."
Those in charge of the search say they need all the help they can get because it took two days to realize the Hakkens might be at sea. It was originally suspected they were travelling on land.
Early Friday detectives uncovered several pictures that show the parents - Joshua and Sharyn Hakken – on a sailboat off John's Pass in Pinellas County. The images were captured Wednesday, the same day Joshua Hakken is suspected of abducting the children from his mother-in-law.
Investigators say he tied up his wife's mother and escaped with his family. Martin says this is unlike any search he's seen in more than a decade.
"We assist the Coast Guard with many searches throughout the area regarding missing boaters, lost boaters, for extended periods of time," he explained. "But something of this magnitude, specifically with children involved, I don't remember there being a case like this."
Several boaters on the water on Saturday said they would do whatever they could to find the missing Hakken family. Locating them would bring an end to the Amber Alert, now in its fourth day.
"We're going to go to the ocean now and we're going to spread the word," said Jaycee Guillen, as he boarded his boat with his family at Seminole Boat Ramp in Clearwater.
"It's kind of scary and you got to worry about the kids right now," added Keith Woodring, a boater from Clearwater. "I think it's kind of your civic duty, really, especially if you're a parent. We need to watch out for other people's kids, especially if they can't do it themselves."
Based on pictures taken at John's Pass Marina, the Hakkens are believed to be sailing in a 25-foot 1972 Morgan Sailboat with a blue Bimini top and white main sail.
The hull is blue and the ship has the word "Salty" on the back. There's also a bright yellow horseshoe-shaped life preserver onboard.
The search and investigation continues.
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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